About this artwork

In February 1692, Glencoe witnessed one of the most infamous and brutal massacres in Scottish history. Under the cover of darkness, Campbell clansmen slaughtered their rivals, the Macdonalds of Glencoe. The bleak ruggedness of the mountains, with their spectacular spires, cliff and gullies, is an awe-inspiring sight, and it remains one of the most frequently visited sites in Scotland today. In this sketch McCulloch stressed the savage desolation of the area. His use of red in the landscape perhaps alludes to Glencoe's early bloody history.

Horatio McCulloch

Horatio McCulloch

McCulloch's landscape paintings celebrate the romantic scenery of the Scottish Highlands, emphasising its dramatic grandeur. McCulloch, from Glasgow, was influenced by John Knox's luminous paintings, Sir Walter Scott's vivid prose and the expressive pictures by John Thomson of Duddingston, Edinburgh. McCulloch's summer sketching tours of the West Highlands inspired some of his most powerful paintings, which were created back in the studio. His landscapes combine a magnificent sense of scale with an emotionally charged atmosphere, and contributed to the popular Victorian image of the Highlands. McCulloch also recorded the crumbling houses of Edinburgh's Old Town, and was among the first artists to focus on the urban and industrial landscape of Scotland.